It’s no secret, children have hugly special relationship with dogs. They tug on their tails, rub backwards on their fur, and take a seat right on their bellies when tired. Most dogs patiently tolerate this and many even beg for more when their “treatment” ends. strange though, right?
This is in stark contrast to what dogs will endure from each other or their grown-up human companions. So what makes man’s best friend so tolerant of children? How is it that a canine can remain calm in the face of these pesky pint-sized people?
To understand a dog’s relationship with children, it helps to know a bit about their social structure.
In the wild, canines go to great lengths to establish and reinforce their place in a social group, and these positions clearly dictate who’s in charge and who’s subordinate.
Among dogs raised as pets, the hierarchy is fairly straightforward (i.e., he who feeds me may boss me around). Dogs also have a clear sense of who their family is. Once a person becomes “one of us,” they are to be defended at all costs, whether they put food in the bowl or not.
A family setting is no different — at least from the dog’s perspective. Canines know who their family is and most won’t hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way to protect one of their own.
They key to developing a dog to be a protector of children is early and frequent socialization and training. Their natural instincts will do the rest.